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Gamethread: FIRE v Stabæk, Simple Invitational friendly

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In which we finally get our first peek at the remade Men in Red

Word from training camp is that Harrison Shipp's game has taken a jump over the winter - ohh, this is exciting.
Word from training camp is that Harrison Shipp's game has taken a jump over the winter - ohh, this is exciting.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

If you, like the staff of Hot Time, are somewhere beyond the horizon in terms of your curiosity about the 2015 edition of the Chicago Fire, then today is a bit like Christmas - a day when you know something long-anticipated will be revealed. To good or ill, the mysterious part of this roster's team-building is about to end. Today begins the public journey, the hike through the commons that is another season of football. After today, we will know ... something.

What, exactly, we know will be debatable and will therefore be debated. An example: This time last year, a young-ish Fire XI were playing a compact 4-1-4-1, driven in part by the running and combination play of loanee midfielder Benji Joya. By midseason, that formation was a distant thought, and Joya had loafed himself off the gameday 18. So it's worth remembering that whatever happens today - in an early preseason friendly, between teams still forming their shape and swagger and lines of responsibility - is but a single data point in a long season filled with them. In other words: Don't get carried away.

But it is tantilizing to finally see all these new players on the field. As I said in my preview for the game, this is the most comprehensive offseason makeover in recent memory. Even Carlos de los Cobos didn't flip the roster this much; he was distinguished primarily for his truly awful record on players he did bring in.

Stabæk wing midfielder (and former MLSer) Cole Grossman shares his thoughts on MLS with English-speaking Stabæk supporters here:

As usual, feel free to over-react here, in our handy comment section.